Hollow Earth Theory by Gerard McKeown

We grew to one side in millimetres, not miles. The house, a hollow squat, purred amid our quiet. Your stomach drained nightly into our mattress. Vinegar breaths melted frost on the windows.

                        Our voices drilled the walls, vibrating molecules, as the sound passed through, but didn’t mark, the paint and plaster. My voice prodded you for warmth. Its weight curved your spine. You replied in hacks and sniffles that spread germs and caused colds. Your breakneck sneezes broke the windows.

                        Quiet kisses blew away down the hill, searching for someone new. Their sounds travelled underground, to echo and haunt us.

Gerard McKeown is an Irish writer living in London. His work has been featured in The Moth, 3:AM, and Litro, among others. In 2017, he was shortlisted for The Bridport Prize. More work can be viewed at www.gerardmckeown.co.uk

Image Credit:  Wenniel Lun

Oldies Night at Sidetrack by Adrian Slonaker


Alex stood against the wall in what is known as the gay bar on Sunday night, Oldies Night. The screen displayed a parade of audiovisual snippets of nostalgia designed to elicit smiles and memories, a kind of escape. But the gay bar itself was a kind of escape from a world where someone felt out of place, marginalized or just plain fucked-up. Alex was supposed to be among his own kind, although even here there was a hierarchy of haves and have-nots. Alex watched the grainy images of Petula Clark and Tom Jones and inhaled slowly on the Du Maurier Ultra-Light cigarettes he knew were turning his fingertips a grotty shade of gold. Yet he did it anyway because the hits of nicotine compensated for lacklustre serotonin levels. If it hadn’t been nicotine, it would’ve been chocolate. And too much chocolate would’ve cause more unsightly damage than a few ochre fingertips.

He didn’t normally drink booze-not even on his twenty-first birthday eighteen months earlier, but he wanted to feel something special, something different. He forwent his Diet Coke and ordered an Absolut blackcurrant slushie. The smiling, tanned bartender, muscles bulging, cheerily handed the slender, overpriced glass to Alex. The bartender smiled at everyone. That’s how he stayed employed. Alex sucked down the sweetness; it reminded him of blackcurrant pastilles he crunched as a lonely suburban child. Then the vodka slammed into his head with a not unpleasant rush. He fellated the straw with more gusto and slurped again. He was now watching the Beatles while simultaneously eyeing the parade of fellas marching, stumbling and sashaying past. Queens, leathermen, bears, twinks, businessmen, pimple-dotted students. Pensive types, sluts, gigglers, the stray fag-hag escorted by her loyal attendants.

He lit yet another Du Maurier. He also lit a Du Maurier for the dude in the blue cowboy shirt next to him who had asked for one, flashing a flirty smile with a hint of somehow genuine warmth surrounded by thick whiskers. ‘Thanks, cutie.’ Sharing the wealth. Building up karma, Alex guessed. The smoky, dim room reeked of liquor. Reeked of sweat. Reeked of masculinity. And cologne sold at a variety of price points. And desperation. Alex wondered who came here on New Year’s. And Christmas.

Alex politely-since his Mennonite parents had once instilled courtesy practically into his corpuscles- edged away from drunken conversation from a skinny, drowsy-eyed twenty-something with stereotypically Polish cheekbones who was floundering in a river of consonants punctuated by a few token vowels. He might have been be trying to pick up Alex. Or sell him cocaine. Or discuss quantum physics. Alex couldn’t understand him due to his slurring and the noise levels. And Alex didn’t want to understand him because he wanted to be left alone. Aloof. Just among people. But detached. Or did he?

The Guy fascinated Alex. Not the drunk, but this other Guy. Unpretentious, blokey, but not cartoonishly so, boxy-shaped, like a pit bull, accessible, low-key, clad in a white t-shirt (or a singlet? It was hard to tell.), black leather biker jacket, blue jeans, trainers. A receding hairline. Fortyish. Or fiftyish. That was honestly hard to tell, too, especially since Alex was bad with ages. And directions, for that matter. The Guy was sipping something piss-coloured, likely a beer. He was studying the Searchers performing on a Ready Steady Go clip. With sad eyes-The Guy, not the Searchers. So The Guy liked ‘Sweets For My Sweet’, an innocent song from a supposedly more innocent era, at least on the surface. Alex didn’t know how to read into that. The Guy had sad eyes too, sad espresso-coloured eyes capable of arresting Alex’s attention. And nice, pulpy lips-but in a butch, Harley-Davidson-riding way. And ebony caterpiller-like eyebrows. And broad shoulders. Boxy, again. Alex wondered who The Guy was.

The Searchers ended their performance to thunderous, decades-old applause on screen, and The Guy slid off his stool, turned and headed out into the street. It was about time. It was getting late. So Alex followed, snaking his way through the dense, throbbing crowd and out the bouncer-guarded door. The mid-May air at 1:00 a.m. was refreshingly cool. Sweeter than the slushie, even in the bowels of the city. Alex followed The Guy as he took a leafy side street. It was on Alex’s way home, after all. The long way home, but still. A few dark blocks down, The Guy crossed the road. Alex had thought he’d caught The Guy peering over his shoulder at him a couple of times. But now the Guy stopped and brazenly stared. Alex followed suit. It was like a hunter face-to-face with his prey, but whether Alex was the hunter or the prey was uncertain. Even he didn’t know. There was only stopping and staring. And silence. Something had to happen. Sometime.

Adrian Slonaker works as a copywriter and copy editor in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Adrian’s work has appeared in Always Dodging the Rain, Aberration Labyrinth, Nixes Mate Review, Red Weather, Red Fez and others.

Image Source: Alex Knight

A Diet of Feathers by Paul Whyte

If a bar is not kept at all times moist to the touch it will grow feral, dangerous. 
       Think of it as a type of sessile organism, a compact colony surviving only on the odd sobs of stout and the dead skin of patrons.
     This particular bar has pulled the fibres from the knit of my jumper and planted them upright in the mahogany so that they sway like sea creatures. Poor thing must have been starving.
     It’s St Stephen’s day morning and I’m consulting the paper. First meet is 11. 
     I use an inch-long pencil to circle names. My first pick is a tip from the radio, 6/1.
     Neil returns from the bathroom preening with dull satisfaction. His paper wagging beneath his arm like the tail of one of those strange fish that sticks to the bellies and backs of sharks.
   I can see his picks, circled with red pen so that his choices cannot not be easily erased or forgotten.
   He pays for his drink and while he does I catch the contents of his wallet – a loyalty card for the only barber in town and a balance of cash for the day, all big notes. His bank cards are at home. He knows better.
   We leave and walk to the bookmakers, two doors down, last year it was five.
   Neil is shorter than I am and going bald in the most unfortunate of ways, thinning in strips instead of patches. This doesn’t seem to bother him. He lets it grow until it’s unbearably mossy.
He has pale pocked skin and a sturdy crest of a nose. Sometimes when you call to the house for him, his brother will answer and tell you that Neil is out the back breaking blocks with it.
   Right now he has the look about him of someone confident, canny.
   The bookies is packed and has the visual palette of a stuffed ashtray. It smells of insoles and devastated carpet. 
   The only female here is the cashier, Joanna. She has the kind of calm in her eyes that you see in nurses and first responders. 
   Once on the carpet Neil doesn’t respond to verbal signals. He will not discuss picks or winnings. Men are invisible in this place.
   At 2 o clock I tell him that I’m hungry. He seems agreeable. This must mean he’s up.
   We go back to the pub and eat vegetable soup, crumble in soda bread that’s thick as scones. We have a carvery lunch and a pint of free cordial each. There is discussion of Ibiza.
   He tells me that he’s going to get a job in the new year, that he’d like to come with us on the holiday. Says though, that it’s hard with the Mother the way she is. I sympathize, but secretly I know that if it wasn’t this it would be something else. Neil has the sort of mind that subconsciously seeks labyrinths. It’s not broken, it just does what it does with a ruthlessly efficiency.
   He’s never been out of the country. He’s never eaten pasta or drank barista coffee. To my knowledge he has only ever been to the cinema that one time with school. He likes football and playing poker online, thinks he’s better at both than he is.
   We step outside for a smoke. I rub my belly and tell him what the Father told us over Christmas dinner.
   He told us that when he was thirteen years old his Dad organized a job for him in a plant nursery somewhere between Aherlow and Lisvernane. They supplied food and accommodation for the summer and a couple of quid would go back home.
   The meals weren’t much, spuds and bacon, mustard from a tube if they had it. Breakfast was porridge and tea without milk or sugar.
   He told us that he would be so hungry that by lunchtime he would start to eat chips of wood from the handle of his shovel and in bed at night he would sometimes chew the feathers from inside his pillow.
  The story has Neil shaking his head, ”Different times.” he says.
   Back in the ashtray the smell has evolved to include the bizarre body odours of farmers fresh from the field. 
It’s not wholly unpleasant. It has a spicy quality to it, something cheap splashed against a hairy throat on the way into town.
   Later myself and Neil huddle in the doorway as a heavy shower leathers the blanked out windows. Threads of rainwater drop from a clogged-up gutter and clap against the pavement. Even the smoke we’re blowing wants nothing to do with the weather, it circles our faces, seeks shelter in our pores.
   Neil is about as happy as Neil gets. Tells me he’ll put the deposit down on Ibiza tomorrow, maybe he’ll even get a deal in the sales.
   When the bookies close we make our ways back to the pub. Neil keeps walking. 
   I pat his back dutifully, offer to buy him a drink, curried chips if he’s hungry. He doesn’t answer me, just carries on down the street, trans-illuminated by a connect-the-dot forest of birches wrapped in fairy lights.
Once inside, I go to the bar, run my hand across its skin. It feels dewy, fed. I knock it once to see if it answers, thumb the vinyl-like groves in the wood. A voice comes; I order a stout. 
 I think of Neil, walking alone in the country dark. I bet he’s starving. 

Paul Whyte is an emerging Irish writer. Originally from Tipperary, he currently lives in Dublin with his wife and two children, where he is working on his first short story collection – Brazen Head. Paul has been writing for about 10 years. He works mostly on speculative literary fiction.

Image Source:  Tommy

A Party by Lucy Montague-Moffatt

Driving at night beside you you ask me to drive with your eyes over the people at the party I say yes back with my eyes because that’s what love is driving you home when you are tired from working all week and want to have another whiskey Fiona has just poured me a third glass of wine and has been telling me all about the particular grape that this wine is made from she has said fabulous about ten times I don’t know if she knows any other descriptive words I pour my glass down the sink when she isn’t looking and the sink gurgles fabulous back to me and Fiona shrieks that I have drank that very fast I flush and shrug and go to the bathroom and use my earring to remove a piece of spinach from my teeth I wish you had also told me across the room with your eyes about the piece of spinach I don’t know how long it has been there or if everyone has been talking about it behind my back I saw a group of Fiona’s archaeologist friends laughing loudly beside a bookshelf howling they must have been laughing at the spinach because what else do archeologists have to laugh about you hate museums and whisper crap crap crap under your breath as we walk around the glass cases of pottery and although I am fascinated I giggle because that’s what you do to me and love is coming to a museum with me even when you prefer to read an Ian Rankin under a beach umbrella you talk to a woman for a long time I watch across the room but can’t get away from Fiona’s conversation because she is right in the middle of a story about buying brie and there’s never a point where it would be polite to step away as she is doing hand gestures and accents and it is taking a lot of effort so I watch the woman from a distance as she touches your shoulder she pours you another whiskey your fourth and you throw your head back in joy and adulation of this moment when an attractive woman is touching you and feeding you alcohol and telling you things that make your eyes wrinkle at the sides with pure happiness when the brie story is over I don’t go over and disturb you I let you keep talking into the night because that’s what love is I watch your eyes wrinkle from how wide your smile is driving at night beside you as you doze and no matter what happens I can bring you anywhere and you would come because that’s what love is

Lucy Montague-Moffatt is a writer from Dublin currently based in Manchester. Her radio drama ‘In His Kiss’ aired on BBC Radio 4 in July. She is currently the Writer-In-Residence for The Gaiety School of Acting, writing their grad play which will be in Smock Alley Theatre in 2018. She graduated with a Masters in Scriptwriting from the University of Salford last year. Her website is lucymm.co.uk 

Image Source:  Adam Jaime

Frog Bookshop by Bernard O’Rourke

You’re sitting in a corner booth of the bakery café when the man with a face like a dehydrated frog storms in and starts to yell about how, just this morning, this building housed a bookshop.

Do you?          A) respond,

or                     B) ignore him and continue to eat your slice of apple pie, accompanied by black coffee that tastes just a little too bitter because they’ve only recently started doing coffee here and the staff haven’t mastered the art as yet. Clearly none of them have ever worked as a proper barista before. Probably everybody learns to make coffee in Starbucks now. You begin to suppose that what this raving derelict is saying may be really true after all, that as recently as this morning this place was a bookshop. You’ve walked past here but never been inside before, have you ever really noticed, are there any clues to the place, apart from the sign that reads: we now serve coffee––

If you choose A), and stand up to tap him on the shoulder and inform him that this was – for the last 24 hours at least – always a bakery, he’ll get violent and start to throw things, and the police, whom the bakery staff have even now dialled for, will arrive and find him making a scene, leaving them little recourse but to take him on with pepper spray and nightsticks (did you see the way his hand shot into his pocket, they’ll say. Nine out of ten times it’s a concealed weapon, they’ll say).

If however you choose option B), and everyone else does too, and goes right on about their day, the frog-faced man will get a bit discouraged after a while, will become suddenly crippled with an embarrassing clarity – a sudden doubt of what he has been claiming married with an equally sudden realisation of how stupid he looks. His froggy face will fall and he’ll start to look pathetically old as his shrivelling features sag into an acceptance of his own utterly pathetic nature. If you choose option B), there will be no scene here when the police arrive, and who knows what they might do if they lack such an easy target.

Bernard O’Rourke is a writer & filmmaker. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Penny Dreadful, The Tangerine, The IncubatorQueen Mob’s Teahouse, The Honest UlstermanTheEEELThe Bohemyth, and Wordlegs. In 2017, his short film Impression, Canal was shortlisted for the Ó Bhéal Poetry Film Prize at the IndieCork Film Festival. His Twitter account is @guyserious. He lives in Dublin.

Image Credit:  Nafinia Putra

The Swallow by Anna Foley

He examined the plant as the sun set over the skyline. A day out of the glasshouse had not improved the colour of the tomatoes as hoped, but the vines had wilted. The rusty screech of the back-door hinge announced her arrival to this quiet space at the back of the terraced house.

“I must oil that later. Are you at your flowers?”

“I don’t do flowers, only edible stuff,” he barked. “Organic. It’ll be good for you.”

She was peering into the ramshackle glasshouse, imbibing the chlorophyll. He watched, willing her not to touch anything. A flicker of movement at the back-bedroom window next door caught his eye. Someone had noticed him raise his voice to her, again. Dusk was looming.

“You’ve a lovely crop of gherkins lovey,” she said. Her voice was tinny since that last surgery.

“Cucumbers,” he snapped.


“They’re not gherkins ‘til you bloody pickle um, Mam. Cucumbers”

She sighed and stood before him, smiling. He wondered why she persisted with these inane conversations. Tensing, he shifted his gaze to the window next door again. No movement to be seen. When he glanced at his mother again, she had focussed her attention on his barrel of collected rainwater.

“Oh Jesus,” she said.


“There’s a dead bird in there. Don’t look now love.”

He edged toward her and eyed the oily sheen of the water, interrupted by the greasy feathers of a swallow.

“He won’t get back to Africa now anyway,” she said, fishing it out with her right hand.

“God, Mam! There’s germs an all sorts. You have to be careful of bugs.”

“Don’t you worry, pet, I’ll get rid of it.”

She lifted the lid of the steel bin in the corner and replaced it with a clang, wiping her hand on her apron afterwards. He imagined bacteria flourishing all over it, creeping all over the eroded Kiss The Cook embellishment. The pathogens would garnish whatever awful meal she was preparing indoors too. Endotoxin stew.

She paused then, hovering along the fencing that separated his garden from that crowd next door. The shrieks of seemingly happy children permeated the air of the estate on either side of him. Glancing at his mother he was struck by how thin she seemed. Though the evening was fine, and the coral sky beautiful in its way, this close-proximity living was not something a true country woman like her would ever get used to. The August wind picked up, whipping the scant remains of her hair into her eyes and she jumped. She would need a scarf for her head soon, or a wig, he thought.

“Must go back to the dinner love, come in after me now won’t you.”

He grunted.

When he was sure he had heard her close out the back door, he entered the glasshouse, and tore down the last of the nests.

Anna Foley lives in her native East Cork. She completed an MA in Creative Writing in UCC in 2016. She has had several pieces published in various journals including The Lonely Crowd, The Incubator, The Quarryman and the Honest Ulsterman.

Image credit:  Markus Spiske

Catch Up by DM Lyons

“What’s with the sudden shyness?”

I was trying to dress with my back to her, standing in just my skirt and wondering about how to get the rest of my clothes on as quickly as possible. The living room was almost completely dark: small hollows illuminated by the blinking standby features of various electronics, the digital clock of the tv box reading 4am.

My left arm was covering my chest as I bent down to retrieve my top from the floor with my right: rising I felt her standing behind me, not touching but close.

Now that I’d removed myself from the couch where I had been lying beside her, now that I’d looked away the prospect of looking back was unthinkable, the thought of eye contact unbearable. So I just stood there with my back to her, cheeks burning in the darkness.

From somewhere in my heart, a tugging sensation, something between despair and desire. Shame.

Standing very close behind me she placed her hands on my hips, rested lips on shoulder blade. Still I couldn’t bring myself to turn around. There was nothing to be done therefore but to stand helplessly and try to focus on what lay straight ahead, on anything other than where I was, who I was with and what I had just done.

In this frozen state, I could hardly believe that hours earlier we had been two old college friends catching up in a bar….drinking wine and sticking safely to those topics of conversation which emphasised how similar we remained, rather than how different we’d become. Families, celebrities, inevitable diet talk… our boyfriends. Open enough but still careful to conceal from each other the gently or not-so- gently accumulated disappointments of our 20s.

“Hmmmm?,” she asked again, “why the sudden shyness?”

I concentrated on the cracks of streetlight through the curtains, on the last vibration of my phone as the battery finally died, on the photos on the mantle where you could almost see faces. I stood there in the dim margins between night and day, in that strange uneasy place between drunk and sober, and I didn’t know, honestly, if I felt good or bad, high or low, changed or unchanged completely.

Random thoughts struggled to make impressions.

Anything but turn around.

I couldn’t tell then if it was me that leaned backward or her that leaned forward but suddenly of these competing impressions the only impression I had was of skin touching skin in darkness, and everything else became background.

The fraction by fraction inching forward and upwards of her fingertips, the millimetre by millimetre movement of her lips as they claimed further territory – in high definition and in slow motion, all impression was reduced to this.

I turned around.


DM Lyons lives near the Phoenix Park, but often gives the impression of living in the Park, due to her habit of wandering around there for hours, staring at the deer. Her work has never appeared in print, and she struggled with whether to put inverted commas around “work” at the start of this sentence.  You’ll note she omitted them in the end, perhaps attempting to convey an air of artistic confidence to the reader. She works as a business consultant to various start-ups, mainly because she loves hoodies and events with free pizza.

Image Credit:
Brooke Cagle

Unbecoming by Matt Hutchinson

I built it deep in the woods. Far enough from the road to avoid fumbling couples at night, drivers caught short by day. So far in no human eye would look on it before hunting season. By then it would be over.

To the casual eye it might have looked like a wood store, or some kind of bothy, but what I was building wasn’t for shelter, wasn’t to preserve or protect; it was to witness an ending.

I was almost done.

There was enough space inside for a grown man to stand upright, a shelf of books, a simple fold down cot for the nights. Eighty-seven of them; that’s how many I calculated it would take. Almost three months of gradual thinning, diminishing; an unbecoming.

I took a final sweep round outside, covering my tracks, laying branches and creepers. Fat drops of sweat ran down my back, between my shoulders. Others navigated the longer route over the bulge of my belly. Dick they called me at the yard. It took me almost a month to understand it wasn’t the insult I thought it was. I overheard Todd Carson calling me The Great White Whale to one of the drivers and realised what it was short for.

I wanted to kill him, kill them all, every single one of them. Take a baseball bat to their stupid skulls or lock the doors in the loading bay and pick them off with a rifle. Sometimes, during those long afternoons in the woods as I dropped stone onto stone, I imagined the slack weight of bodies hitting concrete. It felt good. But that wasn’t the answer. I’d never held a gun in my life, let alone fired one. Anyway, there was only one person I could rid myself of to end the heat of shame, the sweat of embarrassment, and I had him firmly in my sights. His time had come.

My shirt rode up as I squeezed in through the final gap, rough stone scraping my belly. I tested the battery-operated lamp and the backup torch, counted the water bottles that lined one wall, checked my tiny store of rations was dry. I couldn’t put it off any longer; there was nothing left to do.

I wiped my forehead and took a drink. Then I lifted a stone and set it on mortar. I lifted another, and another, till a thin strip of light was all that remained; a gap too narrow for me to fit through.


I hung the tarpaulin over it to keep out the rain and took another drink.

Then, deep in the woods, I sat down and began the long wait.

Matt’s stories have appeared in The Bohemyth and Boston Literary Magazine and been shortlisted for the Doire Press International Fiction Competition.  He was once second reserve goalkeeper for Chorley and district under 11s and has a degree in Pop Music. Funny how life turns out.

Twitter: @mattwrites
Image Credit: Geran de Klerk

Niall McCabe

Notes from the Archangel of Aldi


1. Anyway she said, there’s room for another room inside this room, a substitute for a universe painted blue. Don’t unclip your petroleum belt here. Follow the pseudopods and psychiatrists, those chemical imbalances, the fractal geometry of eleven footpaths into the teeth and dark. Perform a U-turn of inter-galactic mentality and you’ll find yourself spectacularly inside an astral and indefinable someone else. If you try to look order in the eye all you’ll find is the blind syllables of a story staring back. Sing with the signifiers who sing to the road so the road will fold herself into a bio-chromatic body (who never speaks to nobody except himself). And if you run out of blood, remember it’s better to bleach your blue spot than hide a fetish in a cut. By the way, she said, have you ever got lost in a box of chimpanzees while watching Casablanca on a colour T.V? If not, try it, because all these people don’t exist.

2. The Locus goes to sleep during sleep in conditions requiring the attention of her dreams. She watches the norepinephrine arise with clusters of dopamine stars. Her identical nuclei is active and neurotic possessing similar brain connections to a suffering New Romantic strung out by reflections in an pond. I was lying on the sofa watching the structure of a suicidal wasp swallow a window in the seclusion of a hemispheric dusk. High on gamma but lacking intuition it flew inside a minor incision in the limbic region of a temporal holiday. The Locus sings the language of Medulla Oblongata, her voices morph in Gaba rising in the cortex of a river. She scans the sway and curve of her cigarette and slowly brushes her optic nerve. Her fibres shiver briskly in her skull.

3. Yes we are bored we are all bored now and someone who is bored is asleep and someone who’s asleep will not say no. I was sitting on a gland with my eyes closed closer to the ocean than I’d ever been, a unitary shopper sinking behind the sacred screen of shopper eating myself away until there was nothing left but hunger. Hemingway’s hamburger sweated hellishly on the sand. I watched the waves until the lads came back blistered bright and brospinal. Each one of their grinning faces was either a fiction of eternity, an expression of an endorphic reality, or the work of a monetary god working twelve-hour shifts in a Birdseye factory, I couldn’t be sure. No good for work I watched the waves, pretending not to notice the poet feeding poems to the poet inside the artificial light in the night-time where everything shines as it disappears.

4. The sociopath in blue smuggles tertiary-butyl hydroquinone past the security guard on the second floor. As he swipes benignly by, his sequences and syncopations catch the muscular attention of the boys. How many sociopaths and soya beans have you had in your mouth? One shouts out. It’s like losing your uncle in a jungle, says another, or entering the nanoscale carrying blood and lemons through the emptiness. The sociopath, inert and mysterious, frames Forever on the linear surface of the saviour’s sequined dress, splashes luster and oyster on the holy wall of mitochondria, subdues the juice believers and subverts the rest who threaten to meet and never meet except in the eye of a black hole swallowing mouthfuls of incendiary bluebottles whose last words are carried into the sun.

5. Different blood same party eating itself listening to Horace Silver and the gospel according to silicon ether. Her voice teaches its own infinity as it calls out from shelf to shelf, calls out, control the artificial colours before there’s no one left to sell. Both difference and similarity are the ubiquitous enemies in this pyrophosphate low-calorie cemetery. Yesterday a girl called Meryl drowned inside the signals emanating from a nano-box of methyl. Her spirit hid inside a leaf until the logarithmic growth climbed back inside the meat. The end-user no one would believe, she was taxidermied and taken to a vault inside a tree. Two indentured seagulls lubricate the air with songs of love, longing for the great logo stretched across their lungs. Some say the logo’s subsidiary will come in the form of a bird. Others say it will be a gun buried in a gun.

6. The ontogenesis of the sensible sentient sprang up in the surface of a depth. Neo-natal and not a problem it incorporates its curves into the universe it interrogates. Its mass is measured by the operation of these curves as they accumulate and navigate the insoluble indivisibles of the negative. It has no regrets. Nor is the representations it reciprocates locked in its spatiotemporal currents when it hibernates. It doesn’t sleep for long. It seeks solitude in commerce and becomes incarnate in this solace, the only fact of its existence is yet unknown.


Niall McCabe is from Derry and currently lives in Dublin, Ireland. His writing has featured in various publications, including Abridged, The Attic, The Belleville Park Pages, The Columbia Review, Icarus, and Trinity Journal of Literary Translation. He reads regularly at Cave Writings and was chosen as one of the featured writers to partake in their exhibition, Cave Paintings.

Image Credit:  Héctor J. Rivas